Khartoum here i come!!!
i went to the sudanese embassy this morning dreading the worst. instead i came away with overnight service for a visa (of course, after i forked over $61 USD).
the outcome just shocked the bejeezus out of me. i was expecting a long wait.
why was given expedited service? to tell you the truth: I REALLY DON'T GIVE A RAT'S ASS. ha! It's fun to speculate though. I think it was a combination of the following:
1. i looked like i was from the PRC - peoples' repub. of china.
2. i waited quietly for 2.5 hrs. watching 42 ethiopians ahead of me in the que jump through the bureaucratic hoops in getting their visas. i actually didn't see any visas granted to them...
3. i applied for only a transit visa (i.e. go straight through, do not collect my 200 dullah) which was purported to be much easier to obtain than it's rich cousin, the tourist visa.
4. i showered and shaved this morning and put on my only long sleeved shirt.
5. the man behind the visa desk thought, "that poor chinese bastard has patiently sat there for the last 2.5 hrs. without saying a word. he needs a visa today or tomorrow."
having hindsight now, the 4 days of pounding the pavement was worth it (ok, i fit in some museum time). 2 trips to the canadian embassy to pay 50 bucks for a letter of introduction -- i got to write jackass steve h. for a refund. 2 trips to the egyptian embassy for a $50 USD visa -- i got to write jackass steve h. for another refund. and, 2 trips to the bank to finance this debacle.
so this is plan A. it's a bit complicated. the sudanese visa will be valid for only 2 weeks. unfortunately, i need at least 3 more weeks to look around ethiopia (the very basics). to borrow time, I'm heading to Harrar (way out in the east) after taking in the Mercato in addis, in 2 days. harrar is home of the famous Hyena Man. should be brill watching him feed the hyenas. i'll probable spend 2 or 3 days out there. then it's back to collect my sudanese visa here.
from that point in time, the clock will start. I've got 2 weeks to reach the sudan border. on the way, i've got to find the Lost Ark of the Covenant. that's tall order my friend...
upon entering the sudan, i will have 2 weeks to clear the country. fortunately, the visa is extendable in khartoum if there there are any "unforeseen" delays (effectively making it a tourist visa). khartoum will be brill. look out Royal City of Meroe.
on top of all this I have 2 months to reach wadi halfa, on the shores of Lake Nasser, and enter egypt.
it's gonna be brill.
did i mention i love to travel (especially when things work out).
(by the way, the plan B i was contempting was sailing to yemen via djibouti, hiring camels to cross into oman and then jump the strait of hormuz and land in iran. not a bad itinerary, eh? maybe next time)
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Khartoum here i come!!!